January 2, 2009 / 10:06 PM / in 9 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX kicks off year with energy-powered rally

* Energy sector roars 6.3 percent higher

* Fourth session of triple-digit gains

* Nine of 10 subsectors in positive territory (Adds comments, details, changes to Ottawa from Toronto dateline)

OTTAWA, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index pushed 2.7 percent higher on Friday, as an energy sector rally helped power a fourth straight session of triple-digit gains to usher in the new year.

All but one of the Toronto Stock Exchange’s 10 main sectors ended higher, led by the energy group, which surged 6.3 percent.

Big gainers included Suncor Energy (SU.TO), up 8.9 percent at C$25.83, Petro-Canada PCA.TO ahead 8.9 percent at C$29.11, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) gaining 6.7 percent to C$51.99.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 246.41 points to close at 9,234.11 points.

“A lot of people have a lot of cash that they’re sitting on. And this being a new year, maybe they were just looking for a place to put their money,” said Adrian Mastracci, portfolio manager and president at KCM Wealth Management Inc.

Crude oil jumped $1.74, or 4 percent, to $46.34 a barrel, lifted by fears over European fuel availability amid rising Middle East tensions and a spat between Russia and Ukraine over natural gas supplies. [ID:nSP351690]

Oil has climbed 36 percent from a recent multi-year low of $33.87 on Dec. 19. But it is still down about $100 a barrel from its record high set in July.

The industrials group rose 3 percent, with Toromont Industries TIH.TO climbing 4 percent, to C$23.94, Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) rising 2.6 percent to C$42.06, and Canadian National Railways (CNR.TO) jumping 3.3 percent to C$46.25.

Consumer staples was the sole sector ending lower, down 0.68 percent.

The TSX composite index is up 11 percent since Dec. 24, but Mastracci does not expect the good times to continue for long.

“I would hold off on popping the champagne just yet,” he said.

“I‘m expecting more bad news to come out ... I think that these upticks that we’re getting now, however many we get, those are good times to sell into, in my view. Tweak that portfolio.”

Canadian stocks fell 35 percent in 2008, the worst drop since 1931. ($1=$1.21 Canadian) (Additional reporting by Jeffrey Jones and Ka Yan Ng; editing by Rob Wilson)

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